Useful Tips

How to improve sleep with colds and flu


The likelihood of catching a cold increases the more, the less time we devote to sleep.

Sleep is sometimes called a cure for all diseases, and there is a truth here - lack of sleep weakens our defense systems, so viruses and bacteria have a good chance to penetrate the body and gain a foothold in it. However, until now, the useful, “health-care” properties of sleep have been based on subjective evidence, when a person himself assessed his condition depending on the “dose of sleep” and reported it to physicians. Such polls are certainly important, but definitely not enough for rigorous scientific conclusions.

Arch to Preiser (Aric prather) from the University of California at San Francisco, together with colleagues from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, they were able to obtain more objective evidence that sleep helps to resist, if not all diseases, then at least the common cold. During the week, researchers collected sleep data from more than one and a half hundred people who were given a special wrist device that recorded body movements during sleep, in addition, participants also recorded time when they went to bed and when they woke up.

Then, the participants in the experiment were supplied with a nasal spray with rhinovirus that causes a cold, and they were accommodated in a hotel, where they lived for five days without a break. Before a person injected a virus solution into his nose, he took a blood test to determine the level of antibodies to infection already available - it is obvious that if their level was initially high enough (that is, the immune system remembered what to do with a cold), then the disease receded quickly. Those with immunity, and so was ready to face a cold, had to deduce from the study: even if they became ill, they would recover too quickly, and sleep would hardly play any significant role in countering the virus.

Whether infection occurred or not, was monitored by external symptoms (runny nose, etc.) and using special tests. For example, a special dye was instilled into the patient’s nose and the time taken to reach the pharynx was measured, if it took about 35 minutes, then the airways were noticeably inflamed and swollen, and the disease, therefore, was on the rise. Along the way, samples of the mucous membrane were taken from the nose, in which the concentration of the virus and antibodies against it was measured.

The likelihood of catching a cold was compared with how long a person was sleeping. Here, the quality of sleep was also taken into account: if the sleep was restless, in total, the sleep time was less than with a quiet sleep, even if both subjects went to bed and got up at the same time. It turned out that if you sleep less than 5 hours or 5-6 hours at night, then the likelihood of seriously getting a cold will be 4.5 and 4.2 times higher, respectively, than if you sleep 6-7 hours or more. An article with the results of the work is published in the journal. Sleep.

As we said above, sleep, obviously, somehow helps the immune system. It can be assumed that sleep also helps fight other infections, not only the common cold virus, however, additional studies will be required to verify this.

An extra pillow will provide a comfortable sleep during a cold

If you have the flu, you know that the body is best at fighting infection in a dream. Unfortunately, it often happens that you can forget about a comfortable dream if you are coughing and having a sore throat, and your head breaks up due to pressure in the sinuses. With such a "bouquet" of flu symptoms, you can hardly expect a comfortable sleep. If you also sneeze every 5 minutes, then even falling asleep becomes a real problem.

What to do in this situation?

Try using an extra pillow (or two) when you are about to fall asleep. You need to support not only the head, but also the neck and upper back. This position is necessary to ensure comfort and optimal drainage of the sinuses. This way you can reduce nasal congestion and cough, as well as ensure that the necessary air can reach your lungs, even if you have a lot of mucus accumulated inside your sinuses.

A shower will help you relax and sleep better, even if you have a cold.

Usually, doctors do not recommend taking water procedures if you have a cold. However, a warm bath or shower can help if done one hour before bedtime. Water will help soothe pain, relax the body and mind, and body temperature after water procedures will drop naturally. It is only important to ensure that the water in the bathroom or in the shower is not at a high temperature. An additional effect of water procedures before bedtime: steam, heat and humidity will weaken airway congestion, so it will be easier to fall asleep.

A warm drink before bed helps you feel better during the common cold

Drink warm drinks before bed, but no caffeine. Herbal infusions or chamomile tea are best. They have sleeping pills. If you add a little honey and lemon to such tea, a warm drink will soothe a sore throat. It will also help you maintain the necessary moisture level in your body, which is essential when fighting the flu and colds. The ritual of brewing tea itself and its leisurely sipping will also prepare you for a healthy sleep. Refrain from drinking alcohol at night (even for medicinal purposes). It is unlikely to contribute to a healthy and comfortable sleep.

Daytime sleep during the cold works wonders

When you have the flu or a cold, give yourself rest during the day. But observe the measure. Perhaps if you slept poorly at night and feel unwell, you will get better sleep during the day. Just don't overdo it. Too much daytime sleep can lead to another sleepless night. During the day, you can also try to perform some exercises (yoga complex, stretching) or even take a light walk to improve night sleep and reduce flu or cold symptoms.

Medications can minimize bad sleep during the flu.

If the above methods do not help you achieve a comfortable sleep during the flu or a cold, talk with your doctor about medicines that can reduce sputum, mucus, or clear the airways. Using medications recommended by your doctor, you can sleep better and minimize symptoms of flu and colds, such as nasal congestion, post-nasal runoff, and shortness of breath.

Recovery from colds and flu can take some time, but a comfortable healthy sleep is one of the main conditions for a quick recovery. However, the practice of healthy sleep is relevant not only when you suffer from the flu or the common cold. Remember this if you want to feel better!

The author of the article: Kristina Sumarokova, Moscow Medicine ©
Denial of responsibility: The information presented in this article about healthy sleep for colds is for reference only. However, it cannot be a substitute for consultation with a professional doctor.

How much sleep do you need?

Sleep is the basis of the normal functioning of the nervous system, stable pressure and well-being. However, modern people do not get enough sleep on average, about 2 hours daily, and some even up to 3-4 hours, which naturally affects health, entails increased irritability, weakness, chronic fatigue syndrome and even infertility.

The body accumulates fatigue, and if you do not make up for the sleep deficit, allowing yourself to rest, and sleep well, the condition threatens to turn into serious depression.

In the modern world, saturated with technology and stress, it is necessary to sleep at least 9-10 hours, and not 8 hours, as previously thought. 8 hours of sleep for a modern person is not enough for the nervous system to fully recover from the many stresses of the day.

How to organize a healthy sleep

To get enough sleep, it’s not enough just to go to bed, cover yourself with a blanket and close your eyes; the path to Morpheus’s kingdom may not always be simple. In the bedroom or near your bed, you should not have a TV, computer, monitors, music center or other equipment, it emits invisible radiation, spoiling healthy sleep.

Ideally, the bedroom should have only a bed and nothing more than more space for air circulation - the better for sleep.

Our body is sensitive to colors - it is especially important to choose the right color for the walls and ceilings in the bedroom, of course red and black, heavy drapes and mirrors on the stream - this is stylish, but it will make your dream just awful, red excites, black - makes you depressed and anxious.

For the bedroom, it is worth choosing soft and calm tones, it will perfectly calm and tone down shades of green and blue, blue or purple: choose tones that are close to pastel and blur in the palette. These colors inhibit the body's metabolism, reduce the level of pressure and the frequency of the heartbeat, and soothe.

The microclimate of the bedroom

Blackout curtains and twilight are recommended for the bedroom, especially if the room itself is bright. Also for a good sleep in the bedroom it should be cool, we are too coddled with warmth and therefore our sleep is disturbing. For the bedroom, the temperature is set in the range from 18 to 20 degrees, it is advisable to sleep with an open window leaf until the frosts, and in winter - often and for a long time to air.

You sleep at night, and the brain works, sorting out the information of the past day, and it needs enough oxygen to work. Do not abuse the air conditioning in the summer, it can cause a cold. In winter, do not put additional heating appliances in the bedroom - firstly, it is a fire hazard, and secondly, they strongly dry the air in the bedroom and burn oxygen.

It is important to choose a bed

It is desirable that the bed was made of natural wood or metal, they are durable and do not exude harmful substances, such as wood-based panels or plastic. Choose a hard mattress, and orthopedic mattresses are, for the most part, manufacturers tricks. Orthopedic is any hard mattress that gives the body the ability to lie in the same plane. In the bed you only need to sleep - neither for reading, nor, moreover, for working with a laptop, the bed is not adapted.